Guided questions to bring your aligned gifts to 2021
My contribution is to support dreamers ready to act on their perception of the good – since together, we determine what good is and how to get there. The first step is to get to know our inner selves, the questions below and this assessment intend to help us do that. I hope you enjoy my end of 2020 gift to you :).
We must act to bring change.
“Never confuse movement with action.”
― Ernest Hemingway
It’s not about what you do, it’s why you do things.
“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.”
Martin Luther King Jr once said that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. I believe this is true because each of us works to become better for ourselves, our communities and our world. Our values exploration, illuminated by action and perceived by feeling, is how we live towards a more beautiful world. My beautiful question: how do we connect to our values and intentions and transform them into action?
After a chaotic 2020, it’s clear – a change is needed. The question is, who will step up and be the change our communities need?
For the last 10 years, I’ve worked on the various elements of how humans collaborate to create a more beautiful world with hackerspaces, design thinking and entrepreneurship. Today after many painful lessons from reality, I’ve started to build a map that connects:
- Our values and motivations, to
- Our interpersonal and emotional skills, to
- Our practical and technical skills and
- The way we organize the above skills in individuals and groups in businesses, non-profits, and volunteer organizations.
The following reflection questions and assessment address the very first level. The ‘Why?’.
Start with why
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.
– Hadith of the Prophet Mohamed Bukhari & Muslim
My gift to you this holiday season is a moment of reflection and journaling. Journaling is and reflecting is an action. Patience is beautiful, yet change comes when our dreams connect with action to improve ourselves, our communities and the world. The first step is to connect with my deeper motivations and ask questions that help me find more profound wisdom than I thought I had. I need to determine where I want to steer the ship, even if I want to “live in the moment”.
I encountered meditation and mindfulness in college in 2009. The mindfulness movement inspired me to be present in the moment and not dream of the past or hope for a future. And in 2014, after a painful experience in the Middle East, I stepped back from acting because I felt that ambition was destroying the world and corrupting even kind actions.
Being in the flow feels amazing. At the same time, it’s dawning on me that there are some important feelings that require reflection and memory. For instance, a modest and confident sense of self worth which comes from a life well lived, a sense of golden pride. This pride in our better selves happens as a reflection on a lifetime of being the person we want to be and to continually refine ourselves by reflecting and bringing to life our values.
I find my journey moving me from Mindfulness to Heartfulness to Whole-Hearted Action. For me, reflecting on times when I have acted upon who I most aspire to be, I have a sense of expansion in my chest that is so beautiful and empowering, that after touching base with it, it can inspire and inform my entire day.
So what would it take you to look back with pride on who you were in 2021? Now is the time to take action on this writing. Get your boots on, take a moment, get a tea, climb a mountain, walk by the sea, pull out your journal and sit with the following questions. If any of them don’t ring true for you right now, feel free to skip them, if any do resonate with what is true in you, then perhaps it’s time to listen, sit and write.
We must be mindful, we must envision first, then, we must act. See, feel, do.
“Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.”
– Japanese Proverb
2020 Reflection Questions
- What was the single greatest lesson of this past year, and what did it teach you about yourself?
- What new qualities, skills, superpowers did you discover about yourself this past year?
- What was your most courageous action this year?
- What lessons did you pull from the earth of loss and grief so many of us experienced this year?
- In what ways did you surprise yourself with your resilience in the face of the many forms of adversity 2020 brought our way?
- What were your strongest motivations this past year, were they clear, do they inspire you?
- What is something that you could allow yourself to feel grief about that happened the past year, that you haven’t allowed yourself to fully mourn?
- What was your most selfless act this past year?
- What did you get absolutely clear on this year?
- What relationship most supported your growth this past year?
- What made you feel purposeful this past year?
2021 Design Questions:
- What 1-3 words best capture your intention for the next year?
- What motivations would inspire you when you’re looking back on this year of action?
- What would you do even if you knew you would fail?
- What would you try if you knew you could not fail?
- What would you like your biggest triumph to be by the end of the year?
- What advice would you like to give yourself as you begin the New Year?
- What advice would a brash friend give you as you begin the New Year?
- How can you double down on the qualities, skills, and superpowers you have to support your 2021 vision?
- What brings you the most joy, and how are you going to do more of that?
- What is one change you could make to your lifestyle that would give you more peace?
- At the end of the year, how would you like your life to be transformed?
- What values and character strengths would you like to bring to life in 2021? If you’d like to start a discussion based on a psychometrically validated assessment around your values and character strengths, please fill this form: http://bit.ly/valuesalignment – after filling it you will immediately be sent your results and some practical ways to use them.
Some additional resources:
- Here’s a podcast by my friend Raghava KK on loss and liberation episode of Spotify Studios
- Here’s a great way to make a more thorough map of the past year and the upcoming year, yearcompass.com
- And a set of games to help combat the loneliness by my friend Joe Edelman.
I hope you enjoyed these questions and resources. Please let me know if you used them during the new year transition moment out of 2020 and into 2021. I’d love to hear from you about what they evoked. Who you are and who you’d like to become.
I honestly would love to hear from you.
Yours in growth,
Thank you to Deepak Ramola, Pascal Kolbe, Joe Edelman, Raghava KK, Tuuli Utrianiene, Marie Laure, Lana Chukri, and more for their edits and insights.